This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Social Media Links

| 3 minutes read

Headwinds in the Retail Labor Market: Navigating the Future of Workforce Dynamics in Retail - Part 7

How Will Evolving Consumer Behaviors, Technological Innovations, and Economic Trends Shape the Future of the Retail Workforce?

The retail labor market is facing significant challenges due to shifts in consumer behavior, technological advancements, and economic uncertainties. Retailers must adapt to changing skill requirements, integrate new technologies, and meet evolving consumer expectations to remain competitive.

  1. Digital Transformation: The integration of digital technologies in retail operations will continue to grow, requiring a workforce that is skilled in managing and utilizing these technologies. Employees will need training in e-commerce platforms, data analysis, digital marketing, and customer relationship management systems.
  2. Shift in Skill Requirements: Retail workers will need a diverse set of skills to thrive in an omnichannel environment. This includes not only digital skills but also soft skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, and customer service excellence across various channels.
  3. Labor Redistribution: As online sales grow, there may be a shift from in-store positions to jobs in logistics, fulfillment centers, and customer support roles that cater to online shoppers. Retailers will need to balance labor allocation between physical stores and online operations.
  4. Personalization and Customer Experience: Retailers will increasingly focus on providing personalized shopping experiences. Employees will play a crucial role in delivering these experiences, both in-store and online, necessitating ongoing training in customer engagement and personalization techniques.
  5. Automation and AI: The introduction of automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics in retail will change the job landscape. Select repetitive tasks may be automated, but this will also create new jobs focused on managing and maintaining these technologies.
  6. Workforce Flexibility: The need for a flexible workforce that can seamlessly move between in-store and online tasks will grow. This might result in more part-time, seasonal, and gig work opportunities in the retail sector.
  7. Job Creation and Loss: While some traditional retail jobs may decline due to automation and e-commerce, new jobs will be created in areas like digital content creation, omnichannel strategy implementation, supply chain management, and tech support.
  8. Training and Development: Retailers will need to invest more in training and development programs to help their workforce transition to the demands of an omnichannel world, including training in new technologies and customer service across different channels.
  9. Enhanced Role of Stores: Physical retail spaces may evolve to become experiential centers, showrooms, and places for brand engagement rather than just points of sale. This will require employees who are well-versed in brand storytelling and can provide immersive experiences to customers.
  10. Data Privacy and Security: As retailers collect more customer data across channels, the importance of data privacy and security grows. There will be an increased need for professionals who can manage these aspects and ensure compliance with regulations.
  11. Globalization of Workforce: An omnichannel approach may lead to a more global workforce, with remote customer service and digital operation teams serving multiple regions from centralized locations.
  12. Sustainability and Ethics: As consumers become more conscious of sustainability and ethical practices, retailers will need to align their operations accordingly. This may result in new roles focused on sustainable practices and ethical sourcing.

​By implementing strategies such as workforce flexibility, employee development, and technology adoption, retailers can effectively manage their workforce and navigate the complexities of the omnichannel landscape.​ It is crucial for retail leaders to prioritize these strategies and stay ahead of the evolving retail labor market. ​

Other articles in this series: 

  1. Headwinds In The Retail Labor Market: 9 Critical Challenges Facing Retailers Today - Part 1
  2. Headwinds In The Retail Labor Market: Adapting to the Evolving Workloads of Omni-Channel Retailing - Part 2
  3. Headwinds in the Retail Labor Market: The Role of Technology Advancements and Shifting Consumer Expectations - Part 3
  4. Headwinds in the Retail Labor Market: Mastering Decision-Making and Metrics for Omni-Channel Efficiency - Part 4
  5. Headwinds in the Retail Labor Market: Learning from the Leaders in Omni-Channel Innovation - Part 5 
  6. Headwinds in the Retail Labor Market: Five Key Strategies for Optimizing Workforce Management - Part 6

Ankura Performance Improvement Fundamentals

We have a proven record of helping companies execute strategic plans to achieve sustainable performance improvement and targeted operating results aimed at maximizing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), cash flow, and shareholder value.

We work side-by-side with management and other stakeholders to guide companies through periods of uncertainty and subsequently accelerate growth and value creation.

Winning companies map their workforce management strategy and initiatives against their customers’ journey to develop a customer-focused approach to align and manage labor. Ankura has the unique skills to identify and quantify benefits, as well as implement our proprietary labor planning, forecasting, and scheduling tools while facilitating implementation across all facets of workforce and field management.

Our approach to helping clients respond to critical workforce demands includes:

  • Human Capital Design – Create human capital assets plan in accordance with an overall strategy
  • Labor Utilization - Align labor utilization to meet demand, and focus on customers to improve conversion
  • Performance Management - Apply a data-driven and talent-centric performance management approach

Our Workforce Optimization Experts:

Mike Casey
Managing Director 

Eugene Kim
Senior Director 

Matt Sgrignari

© Copyright 2024. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.


headwinds-in-retail, performance, retail labor market, article, f-performance, operations, retail, performance improvement

Let’s Connect

We solve problems by operating as one firm to deliver for our clients. Where others advise, we solve. Where others consult, we partner.

I’m interested in

I need help with